When rapper Meek Mill showed up at the Cosmopolitan Hotel to support his friend DJ Mustard, he was shocked to be turned away – with no reason given.
He filmed part of the encounter with the white bouncer, who threatened him with trespassing charges.
“Here’s the deal,” the bouncer says, in the video posted to Instagram. “We are private property. At this time, with the information we have, we’re refusing to do business with you. We have the right to do that.”
Mill asks for clarification. He points out that the bouncer is not merely saying the hotel won’t do business with him but is also threatening to have him arrested.
“You’re telling me I’m going to be arrested if I don’t leave,” Mill says. “If I go upstairs and get something to eat, you’re telling me I’m going to be arrested. For what? For being a rapper?”
He left soon afterward and posted the exchange on Instagram, saying the hotel was “going to extreme racist levels to keep [out] too many black entertainers and black people… They said they’re gonna lock me up,” he posted. “Some of these casinos have a bunch of tactics to keep the level of blacks down…. But love to take our money!!!! This happens to a lot of black entertainers, not just me either!! I felt crazy being put out by these white men for no reason!”
Related: Meek Mill through the years
Meek Mill through the years
Meek Mill through the years
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 20: Rappers Rick Ross (L) and Meek Mill perform onstage during TIDAL X: 1020 Amplified by HTC at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on October 20, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for TIDAL)
Meek Mill performs during the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California, June 28, 2015. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill perform during the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles, California, June 28, 2015. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
Rappers Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill arrive at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York, U.S., August 28, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Nov 5, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Musical recording artist Nicki Minaj (L) and Meek Mill (R) during the second half of a game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Wells Fargo Center. The Cleveland Cavaliers won 102-101. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 12: Meek Mill, Pill and Wale of Maybach Music Group visits BET's '106 & Park' at 106 & Park Studio on April 12, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
(L-R) Pill, Rick Ross, Wale, DJ Kast One and Meek Mill visits BET's '106 & Park' at 106 & Park Studio on April 12, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: Producer Jhlilp and rapper Meek Mill attend an after party following the 'Home & Home' concert at the 40 / 40 Club on September 13, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 11: Rapper Meek Mill attends Webster Hall on August 11, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
CAMDEN, NJ - JULY 29: Rick Ross and Meek Mill performs during the I Am Still Music tour at Susquehanna Bank Center on July 29, 2011 in Camden, New Jersey. (Photo by Jerritt Clark/FilmMagic)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - NOVEMBER 11: Meek Mill attends The 2011 MTV2 Sucker Free Awards at Fountainbleau Miami Beach on November 11, 2011 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Vallery Jean/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 19: Meek Mill performs at the Best Buy Theatre on December 19, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 19: Meek Mill performs at the Best Buy Theatre on December 19, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Cory Schwartz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 31: Recording artist Meek Mill visits BET's '106 & Party' at BET Studios on December 16, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY: Rapper Meek Mill performs at THe Manhattan Center on February 29, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images).
CONCORD, CA - MAY 07: Rapper/Hip-Hop Vocalist Meek Mill aka. Robert Williams performs at Sleep Train Pavilion on May 7, 2012 in Concord, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/WireImage)
SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 01: Meek Mill performs as part of The Maybach Music Group Tour at Sleep Train Arena on December 1, 2012 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 22: Recording artist Meek Mill and DJ Khaled visit 106 & Park at 106 & Park studio on October 22, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/BET/Getty Images for BET)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 21: (L-R) Meek Mill and Stephen Hill attend the Revolt launch party at Slate on October 21, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 30: Meek Mill attends the BET Hip Hop Awards 2013 - Afterparty at Prive on September 30, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Prince Williams/FilmMagic)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 28: Meek Mill performs during the BET Hip Hop Awards 2013 at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center on September 28, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Prince Williams/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 08: (L-R) Justin Bieber, French Montana and Meek Mill attend Meek Mill Official Grammy Party on February 8, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 07: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Adam Petrick, Global Brand & Marketing Director for PUMA, and recording artist Meek Mill attend Roc Nation and Three Six Zero Pre-GRAMMY Brunch 2015 at Private Residence on February 7, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for PUMA)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 08: (L-R) French Montana, Meek Mill, Khloe Kardashian and Chinx Drugz attend Meek Mill Official Grammy Party on February 8, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 02: Meek Mill talks on stage at CRWN A Conversation With Elliott Wilson & Meek Mill event at Gramercy Theatre on July 2, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for WatchLOUD.com)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 30: Meek Mill attends his pop up store exerience at 25 Mercer Street on June 30, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 28: Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill attend the 2015 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 28, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 23: Hip-hop artist Meek Mill is seen arriving at a Teen Shelter on December 23, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 05: Recording artist Meek Mill performs at Drai's Beach Club - Nightclub at The Cromwell Las Vegas on September 5, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mindy Small/FilmMagic)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 18: Meek Mill Attends the Gucci Mane 'Woptober' Album Release Party at Gold Room on October 18, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Prince Williams/WireImage)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 23: Rick Ross, Meek Mill and 21 Savage attend Rick Ross Birthday Bash at XS Lounge on January 23, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Prince Williams/WireImage)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 22: Meek Mill and Alex Gidewon attend a Party at compound Nightclub on January 22, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo By Prince Williams/Wireimage)
ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 25: Meek Mill performs during V-103 Live Pop Up Concert at Philips Arena on March 25, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
CLARKSTON, MI - JULY 31: Rapper Meek Mill performs at DTE Energy Center during The Pinkprint Tour on July 31, 2015 in Clarkston, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images)
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Mill now plans to file a complaint, he told NBC News, given the lack of an apology or any kind of response from the hotel.
Mill’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, sent a letter to the Cosmopolitan’s legal team.
“It has come to our attention that your hotel, through its security personnel, brazenly denied access to Mr. Williams without just cause,” said the letter, obtained by NBC News. “In fact, the incident of exclusion was captured on a recording. And, evidenced thereby, despite inquiring as to the reason for his denied access, Mr. Williams was offered no explanation whatsoever.”
The letter also alleged that the hotel “maintains a list of African American recording artists who should be denied access for no other reason than their culture and skin color.”
The Daily News reached out to try and learn why they turned the rapper away, but the hotel did not reply. The Cosmopolitan did answer NBC News.
“As a matter of company policy, we do not comment on legal matters,” the Cosmopolitan said in a statement. “Our guests’ safety and security always remains our top priority.”
Mill, whose given name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, has legal troubles going back more than a decade, as Vox, Rolling Stone and other outlets have reported. But the main players in proceedings against him – the cop who first arrested him on drug and gun charges, and the judge who has dogged him on technicalities ever since his first conviction – have been implicated in corruption and conflicts of interest issues, respectively.
In addition, now-retired Philadelphia Police Officer Reginald Graham, who first arrested Mill in 2007, has been “investigated by federal authorities for several alleged acts of corruption,” according to a March 2018 report in The Philadelphia Inquirer, which notes that his testimony “was central to the arrest of Meek Mill.”
Mill’s efforts to use his experience, visibility and platform to change justice system practices that keep black men incarcerated out of proportion to their crimes gave birth to the Reform Alliance in January.
He started it in conjunction with fellow rapper Jay-Z and the owners of a host of professional sports teams to draw attention to the high rate of not only over-the-top incarceration but also post-prison monitoring.
“I’ve been on probation since the age of 18,” Mill told CBS News. “I’m 31 years old.”